Bosh a Lone Star? Not with impending deal

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:10 AM ET

The Raptors may have a European flavour, but they also have a significant Texas twang.

With Houston-born T.J. Ford on the verge of signing a contract extension, he will form a long-term Texas duo with Dallas native Chris Bosh. Bosh and Ford both entered the league in 2003 and have become good friends.

Bosh is pleased to have Ford close to being on board for perhaps five more years.

"We can definitely grow together," Bosh said. "Both of us being young, if we can be good now, that gives us a long time to kind of jell and get used the game and used to each other."

QUIT COMPARING

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell bristles whenever he is asked to compare any of his players to other players around the league, past or present.

The same reaction came out when Mitchell was asked to compare this season's team to last season's version, despite the fact everybody thinks the 2006-07 Raptors are a much better outfit.

"We're just a different basketball team," Mitchell said. "I'm not going to compare this team to last year's team because last year's team played hard, guys did everything I asked them to do. To me, it would be disrespectful to do that. All I'm going to say is that we've got a different basketball team, we've got different pieces ... I have confidence to call in them and put them in the basketball game."

LUCKY BREAK

The Raptors will face two teams missing a few key players to open the season.

The New Jersey Nets, who play host to the Raptors tomorrow, will not have Clifford Robinson (anti-drug policy suspension) and Eddie House (knee). The Milwaukee Bucks, the Raptors' opponents for their home opener Friday, will play without starter Bobby Simmons (heel).

GLOBAL EXPOSURE

A television crew from Italy was at Raptors practice yesterday to report on No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani. More reporters from Italy -- and from Spain, home of Raptors players Jorge Garbajosa and Jose Calderon -- are expected to be following the team in the opening week.


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